Abstract: Scalability is the foundation of building large-scale computer systems. It is very important for both supercomputers in high-performance computing and data centers in cloud computing. There are three laws in scalable computing, Amdahl’s Law, Gustafson’s Law, and Sun-Ni’s Law (the latter is also called memory-bounded speedup). Amdahl’s law is a fundamental law of architecture design but is used heavily on labeling the limitation of parallel processing (i.e., the speedup is limited by the serial part). Gustafson’s law introduces the concept of scalable computing and shows the performance gain of parallel processing has no inherited limitation. Sun-Ni’s law unifies the Amdahl’s and Gustafson’s law and shows memory is a vital constraint of scalable computing, especially for data-intensive applications. In this talk, we will review the three laws of scalable computing and discuss their indication and impact in the big data era. This is an introductory talk for general audience. It reveals the relationship between abstraction and engineering practice in computing and shows that how a simple formulation can change the direction of computer industry.
Dr. Xian-He Sun is a University Distinguished Professor and the Ron Hochsprung Endowed Chair of Computer Science at the Illinois Institute of Technology (Illinois Tech). Before joining Illinois Tech, he worked at DoE Ames National Laboratory, at ICASE, NASA Langley Research Center, at Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, and was an ASEE fellow at Navy Research Laboratories. Dr. Sun is an IEEE fellow and is known for his memory-bounded speedup model, also called Sun-Ni’s Law, for scalable computing. His research interests include high-performance computing, memory and I/O systems, and performance evaluation and optimization. He has over 300 publications and 6 patents in these areas. He is an Associate Editor-in-Chief of the IEEE Transactions on Parallel and Distributed Systems, a Golden Core member of the IEEE CS society, and the past chair of the Computer Science Department at Illinois Tech. He received the CCF Overseas Outstanding Contribution Award in 2018. More information about Dr. Sun can be found at his web site www.cs.iit.edu/~sun/.